In 2017 we discovered what Archtober means, the month of architecture in New York, a fantastic excuse to glimpse the secrets of the city.
Each city has its special corners, parts of the collective imagination that rescue us from a reality that suffocates us or, being more positive, accompany us in our daily adventures. Be that as it may, these corners bring together the most diverse of society, perpetrating the most idyllic of pictures. Almost without realizing it, the architecture that surrounds us, whether current or from the past, helps us envision a joint future.
So nothing strange is celebrating this particular fusion once a year. The International Day of Architecture was established by the International Union of Architects (UIA) for the first Monday of every October. Therefore, the 5th of this 2020 is a day of celebration for all of us who love architecture, but, above all, a day of authentic joy for all those who actively contribute to it. In New York, the world headquarters of good taste, they know it, and this year, despite Covid-19, they have not given up celebrating their Archtober, the month of architecture.
Archtober, the festival that runs through the architecture of New York
Of course, the festival organizers are no strangers to the reality that surrounds us, and they have put in place a generous cast so that we can safely enjoy New York architecture. Thus, this will be a hybrid festival, where we can attend almost all events from home or work, virtually. In addition, when this is not possible, a small group of people will be able to attend in person, together with a qualified guide in the face of the global health emergency we are facing.
Archtober is organized by the Center for Architecture, but an event of this nature requires the collaboration of many companies and organizations. One of them is Untapped New York, rediscovering New York. It is an entity formed by a group of young people who promise to reveal the secrets of the Big Apple. Young people eager to star in several of the events organized at Archtober. This year we will be guided by your tastes.
A virtual tour of iconic landmarks like the Brooklyn Bridge
In the first place, they invite us to discover in a virtual tour the most important performances of Rafael Guastavino in New York, works such as Grand Central Terminal, City Hall Station or the Queensboro Bridge. This should be of great interest to us, given that Guastavino was a Valencian architect who moved to New York, where he spent years building with the partitioned vault system. He even got to patent it. Interestingly, his immense work has gone unnoticed in his country of birth until recently.
Untapped also encourages us to visualize the webinar about the past and the future of what was the most important train station in the world, Pennsylvania Station, a New York icon that faces the future with uncertainties. Afterwards, a leisurely walking tour in groups of 10 to discover the secrets of the Brooklyn Bridge. With more than 130 years this bridge is a powerful structure of granite and limestone that does not leave anyone undaunted. A place that has lived through stories such as that of the hidden vaults and the refuge of the Cold War.
Andy Warhol mosaics and Victorian buildings
Next, a walk through the Flatbush neighborhood will make us discover Victorian-style buildings. This tour is led by Jeremy Wilcox, Untapped guide, who will summarize the history of this sector of Brooklyn, from its beginnings as a Dutch colony, its residential boom in the 19th century, in which magnificent Victorian-style mansions were built; until its explosion as a working class neighborhood in the twentieth century.
Then they take us to explore the remains of the two world fairs held in NY (1939 and 1963) at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. There we will discover time capsules, mosaics by Andy Warhol and some more wonders.
The Dutch remains hidden in New York
Following the Dutch track, we walk through the beginnings of New York, the neighborhood of New Amsterdam, which today is known as Lower Manhattan. During the trip we will be able to discover the first handmade map of the city and trace the streets of 1667, in which some Dutch relics remain intact, such as the foundations of the first city hall of New York City. And since we are there, we may be interested in the tour of the art of Lower Manhattan, where we can discover works by Keith Haring, Jean Dubuffet, Isamu Noguchi, Daniel Chester French and many more.
As a finishing touch, and never better said, we finished with a webinar that will take place at the end of October on the recently completed Louis Armstrong Museum. Executed by the architecture studio Caples Jefferson Architects, it is a place of worship for Jazz lovers. The building has a vivid curved façade on two levels, creating a terrace by extending a cantilever. In addition, the roof will have a green roof. The color that emanates from the property, bright gold, is reminiscent of the musician’s trumpet. In short, one more little architectural gem for the Archtober.